Since bowing out of my corporate gig a couple of months ago, my day-to-day life has been a weird mix of freedom, creativity, occasional boredom. And crippling, stultifying fear.
I struggle with fear every day. It holds me back and keeps me from taking on real challenges. This avoids the unpleasantness of failing but also prevents growth and eliminates entirely the possibility of success. Recognizing that I have a problem with fear was powerful in its own right, but until I begin to overcome that fear it’s a largely symbolic victory. What follows is an attempt at an honest assessment of what specifically I’m afraid of and the emotions I feel when I find myself reluctant to tackle big projects and do the work I dream about. Here goes…
- I’m afraid that I am, at my core, pretty lazy.
- I’m afraid I can’t do things without a sense of urgency that doesn’t currently exist.
- I’m afraid that if I wait for a sense of urgency, it will be too late.
- I’m afraid I will fail my wife and the faith she’s put in me.
- I’m afraid I’m not actually any good.
- I’m afraid that finishing a project will require showing it to others and that they will be disappointed in what I create.
- I’m afraid I will run out of ideas or that I never really had any good ones to begin with.
- I’m afraid of struggling, of staring at a blank screen with nothing to say.
- I’m afraid it will be harder than anything I’ve ever done – Actually, I’m certain this will be true.
- I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to persevere when real challenges emerge.
So there it is. It’s a list I think I need to take stock of from time to time. I didn’t set out to have an even 10 items, but it’s convenient. I realize there are probably some redundancies in these, but they felt discrete as I wrote them. I want this post to be utterly unpolished. I want it to reflect my state of mind right as the words came to me. And I also want this to serve as an important reference point for who I am right now and who I hope to become. I hope that at some point I can come back to this post and confidently say that I have outgrown these fears, and it feels like the best way to do that is to not belabor their wording and simply put them into the world unvarnished. These fears are part of me, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. If the first step was acknowledging my fears and the second was articulating them, surely the next step is conquering them. Wish me luck.
Now…I showed you mine. Will you show me yours?